Dinosaurs have been seen in the beachside town of Mornington, congregating near the Bata showgrounds, running alongside the road and playing around the Silvers Circus big top. And it’s all thanks to Silvers Circus director Dominik Gasser. Not only is he juggling his roles as a clown and acrobat, he also performs in the Globe of Death and Wheel of Steel. He talks to Kate Sears.
How did the decision to add dinosaurs come about?
Well, the story goes as follows. I was marking out the location to set up and to check for underground services. We always use Dial Before You Dig. While they were doing their thing they came across an unidentifiable object, which turned out to be a dinosaur egg. Once we brought it above ground, its mother — a T-rex named Spike — came looking for it. It was her that gave us the inspiration to bring our dinosaur exhibition to the Mornington Peninsula. Spike and Fluffy even make a special surprise appearance in the circus show. We have 18 dinosaurs, including 11 different species of dinosaurs in our free exhibition and plenty of photo opportunities. This is something new and special and something we are very proud of.
How many hours of training are required to pull off the Globe of Death stunt?
It’s now my 10th year performing the Globe of Death, and whenever the riders and I are learning a new trick or are adding an extra bike it take weeks of planning and daily training for at least two or three hours until it’s consistent and ready to go into the show.
What’s your favourite act to perform?
I love all of my acts equally but if I really had to choose one it would be the clowning. It may be the safe feet-on-the-ground act, but it’s the most challenging as I am working with what the audience has to give me. Sometimes it’ll be a big lively crowd who really get involved with me. But other times it may be a small or quiet audience who I really have to work to get a reaction from. I love this challenge and rise to it.
At what age did you first try your hand at circus arts?
My parents, Anton and Anna, started the circus in 1976. I was only eight years old when I went into the ring as a clown and at 12 years old I was performing in the flying trapeze act.
What’s a day in the life of Dominik Gasser entail?
My daily routine changes but it always includes scouting for new locations, speaking with councils, advertising, general maintenance around the show, checking everything inside and outside the tent is ready for the next performance, practice if something new is going in the show. We usually have at least one show daily, sometimes two.
What do you like about the Mornington Peninsula?
Mornington Peninsula is a special place for the family at Silvers Circus. We’ve been coming here for so long and the community here is next level. They are loyal, friendly, and always have something nice and productive to say. It feels like coming home. We spend a lot of our free time fishing, swimming at the beaches, enjoying the amazing local produce and restaurants/wineries/cafes and we have a lot of friends who live here. The Peninsula always opens its arms and gives us a big hug when we roll back into town.
You’ve still got time to roll up to the circus before it leaves for another year. Visit silverscircus.com.au to book your tickets for Friday, February 1, at 8pm, Saturday, February 2, at 11am and 8pm, or for the final show on Sunday, February 3, at 11am.